Whosoever?

Many people who believe in the freewill of man base it on the “whosoever wills” of the Bible. Two such notable verses are: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Jn. 3:16 (KJV) “For whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” Rom. 10:13 (NASB) Before one concludes that these passages teach the freewill of man, they should consider several observations. First, just for clarification, the word “will” in Rom. 10:13 does not refer to the will of man, that is, the volitional faculty of the human soul. Rather, it is the will of a future tense verb. It could just as accurately be translated, “whoever shall call”. The “will” in this verse merely puts the calling on the name of the Lord off into the future. Paul is saying that whenever someone calls on the name of the Lord in the future, they will be saved. Second, the word “whoever” (or whosoever) does not teach the doctrine of the freewill of man. Consider the following: 1) The word “whosoever” does not teach universal ability (freewill), but rather gives a universal invitation. The verse does not say, “Everyone is able to call on the Lord and whoever does so will be saved.” If it did say that then it would teach universal ability and also a universal invitation. However, this is not the case. Let me illustrate. Suppose I speak to a group of people and say, “Whoever will give me ten dollars, I will drive you to the next city.” What am I saying? Am I implying that all who hear me have the ten dollars? No. All I am doing by these words is offering a ride to anyone who has the ten dollars and who wants to go to the next city, nothing more. I have made a promise based upon someone fulfilling my condition. But, and this is important, I have not implied or assumed that everyone who hears my promise can meet my condition. This is what verses like Rom. 10:13 and Jn. 3:16 teach. They offer a universal invitation but they do not teach universal ability (freewill). Other passages of Scripture must be consulted to determine whether or not natural man has the ability to call upon the Lord. 2) The Bible clearly teaches that man cannot come to Christ without God’s enabling grace. “No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (Jn. 6:44). “There is none who seeks for God” (Rom. 3:11). “The mind of the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the Law of God, for it is not even able to do so” (Rom. 8:7). “So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy” (Rom. 9:16). “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1). Nothing less than a spiritual resurrection is needed before a dead sinner can come to faith in Christ. Natural man does not have the ability to come to Christ in faith. The Bible affirms the inability of his will to choose Christ unless God first gives enabling grace. 3) The Bible also teaches that faith is a gift from God and not rooted in the ability of an unregenerate heart. See Acts 11:18; 13:48; 16:14; Jn. 6:37, 44; 2 Cor. 4:6; Phil. 1:29; Rom. 12:3; Eph. 2:8-9, etc. Do the “whosoever wills” of the Bible teach the freewill of man? Though many have been taught this, the evidence does not support it

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